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Broncos bullied by Raiders in first matchup

Zac Stevens Avatar
December 31, 2016


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The last time the Denver Broncos didn’t dominate the AFC West the Josh McDaniels era was coming to a close and Broncos Country was in the midst of the Tim Tebow glory days, all the way back in 2010.

Since the start of 2011 the Broncos have had almost unheard of success within the division: winning five straight division titles and not losing a divisional road game in those five years. Not only did, and will both of those come to an end this year, they are no longer the bullies in the division.

In fact, in the first matchup between the Broncos and Oakland Raiders this year, there was a drastic role reversal between the two teams. Instead of Denver dictating and dominating, the Raiders orchestrated exactly how the game would go down in a 30-20 beat down.

While the score wasn’t close, the game on the field could have actually been worse. Oakland absolutely imposed their will on Denver. The Raiders did what few teams have been able to do over the past few years: dominate Denver’s defense.

Before Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders put up season high marks in points (30), total yards (397), rushing yards (218) and first downs (30) against the Broncos defense, but what could have been even more damaging was the way Oakland executed the game plan.

According to Raiders left tackle Donald Penn, Oakland ran only two running plays in the second half, “We ran the same running play ten times in a row. We kept wearing them down with double teams. They knew it was coming. It didn’t matter. That’s when you take somebody’s will.”

“Why the (expletive) are we not running the ball?” Penn said after the victory. “They can’t stop us! Just run the damn ball!”

Oakland’s offensive line wasn’t just able to run the ball for 5.1 yards per carry; they were able to protect their MVP-caliber quarterback as well. Derek Carr was only pressured on 21 percent of his dropbacks, the lowest for the Broncos up to that point in the season.

While it won’t be Carr under center in Week 17, due to surgery on a broken leg earlier this week, the Broncos hope to get more pressure on replacement quarterback Matt McGloin.

For Denver to have a chance on Sunday they will need to have more success against the Raiders offensive line, which will be no easy task. Oakland’s offensive line not only is the highest paid line in the league ($37.7 million, $3 million more than the next team) they are the heaviest, weighing an average of 324 pounds.

While the result of the game won’t matter for playoff implications, the Broncos could get a little revenge on a division rival to close out the season.

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